Spoilers follow ...
- The Amityville Playhouse review by NP
I wasn’t expecting to like this. In my view, the original Amityville film was a distinctly average entry into the haunted house trend that seemed to be prevalent in 1979. Several sequels later, I wasn’t hoping for much. Usually under such circumstances, I’m more predisposed to find merit, especially when the reviews seem particularly harsh. However, watching 'Amityville Playhouse' - and there's no getting away from this - is a chore.
As grieving Fawn Harriman, Monèle LeStrat injects her role with a consistent disinterest. The flatness of her every delivery is Gielgud-ian when compared to ‘bad boy’ boyfriend Kyle (Linden Baker) and the other three young people who accompany Fawn to investigate the abandoned playhouse she has been left by her recently deceased parents. As a plus, the wooden performances at least aren’t assured enough to adopt the posturing swagger the script seems to want them to possess, and some of the put-downs between the alpha-males might, in more capable hands, be quite amusing.
Interestingly, this is filmed in Canada and the UK, giving at least a feel of variety in location. The conversations between all the characters we meet is purely to provide backstory for each other. With the preliminary scenes so clumsy and hackneyed (much conversation seems to concentrate on the peaks and troughs of being a ‘douche’), one would hope when the scares begin – because there have to be scares don’t there? – that things might improve.
Things don’t improve. In addition, nothing of any note occurs. A spirit appears to be in possession of the playhouse and the kids meander throughout it all, listless and bored. Any sliver of atmosphere or creepiness is completely out of the question, but while the location is shot quite well, ‘Amityville Playhouse’ is guilty of the worst crime of any sub-par production – it is rather boring.
Unhappily for urine fans, about three quarters of the film elapses before someone has to inevitably ‘take a pee’ (although as it’s butch Jevon (Logan Russell) who is caught short, he’s taking a ‘p**s’). You would hope this might sign-post as if often does, something creepy happening. You would hope. Meanwhile, Fawn’s English geography teacher spends the entire running time haplessly researching Amityville’s local history. By the time he makes any progress, sadly, I had long since lost interest.
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